Faulty electrical wiring may have caused UP-PGH fire says hospital chief

Published May 17, 2021, 1:57 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

Citing the initial findings of fire investigators, the director of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) on Monday, May 17, said that a faulty electrical wiring may have started the fire that struck a portion of the state-owned hospital.


“Ang imbetigasyon ay ongoing pa. Ang ating arson division ng (The investigation is still ongoing. The arson division of) Bureau of Fire [Protection] is working on a case,” UP-PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi said in a televised public briefing.

“Pero ang paglalahad ng mga pangyayari (But the narration of events) points to a possible faulty electrical wiring or circuit breaker. Wala pang final pero ‘yun ang initial na findings ng ating mga imbestigador (There is no final yet but those are the initial findings of our investigators),” he added.

Legaspi said the fire directly affected the operating room, supply room, and autoclave room which is “very vital to conducting operations on a daily basis” as it supports the 32 operating rooms located on the third floor of the hospital.

“Hindi man siya malaking area (While it is not even a big area) [but] it’s a very vital part of the operation so natigil ang operasyon sa halos 30 rooms na nag-dedepende sa sistema na ito (operation stopped in nearly 30 rooms that depended on this system),” he said.

“But thankfully the rest of the operating room complex were spared of direct flames. Ang naka-apekto yung makapal na usok na umabot doon (What affected the area was the thick smoke that reached there),” he added.

Meanwhile, Legaspi said the smoke reached the hospital’s nursery which is located on the fourth floor, forcing 33 babies at the nursery to be evacuated, 10 of which were transferred to Santa Ana Hospital as they are in a sensitive condition.

The rest of the babies are now in stable condition and were returned in the nursery and at the pediatric ward.

On the other hand, the hospital chief said around 30 patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) admitted at the hospital COVID wards located at the sixth and seventh floors were transferred to other COVID facilities within the hospital grounds. “But for now, lahat sila bumalik na sa mga kanya-kanyang mga wards (they all returned to their respective wards),” he said.

On May 16, fire hit a portion of the UP-PGH which is also a COVID-19 referral hospital.